Whitley Co. announces first homicide conviction in an overdose death

Whitley Co. announces first homicide conviction in an overdose death
Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 3:58 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WHITLEY COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Whitley County’s Commonwealth Attorney announced their first homicide conviction in an overdose death on Wednesday.

A judge sentenced a man who admitted to selling drugs to a victim, which resulted in their death.

Commonwealth Attorney Ronnie Bowling says Whitley County is a community that has been gripped by opioids in the past, and now fentanyl has led his office to have zero tolerance with drug-related crimes.

“I’m not naive enough to say I’m going to fix the drug problem. I know better. But, our job is to fight it as aggressively as we can head-on,” Bowling said.

Bowling says fentanyl has tightened its grip on Whitley County.

“This is a wonderful community. I mean, I live here by choice. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family. Excellent school system, a very tight-knit close community that you can really call home for your family and you’re extended family. And fentanyl has done its part in destroying that,” Bowling said.

The message to fentanyl dealers is if you sell it to someone for their last time, it will lead to jail time.

“If you’re dealing fentanyl, you will face homicide charges if you cause deaths in this community,” said Bowling.

That is what happened to Bruce Hudson. Hudson pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and drug charges after a victim he sold drugs to died as a result.

Bowling says the tight community makes it hard for sellers to hide.

“We’re still a small community. If you’re known as a fentanyl dealer, it’s really hard to rest easy because law enforcement knows to look at you at all times,” said Bowling.

And that despite the conviction being the first in the county, there’s no time for celebration.

“At the end of the day, it’s really nice to say we have a conviction, and it’s the first of its kind, and hopefully many more to follow, but a family still buried a loved one,” Bowling said.

While Hudson will have to serve at least half of his sentence, Bowling tells us this is not a standard sentence and will change from defendant to defendant.